I grew up hearing stories about how bad I was as a little kid…I’m talking from birth to age five. “You were a little brat,” they would inform me. (All of them…grandparents, aunts, parents, you name it. They all had a story about bratty little Sarah.)
Now that I am an adult, (amazing I survived, but Mom assures me it was only because I was cute that she didn’t kill me,) Mom has it all figured out…
“You were suddenly fine when you turned five, and we had a good ten years during which you were good. Then, you turned fifteen.”
As you can imagine, the stories and bad reputation pick up again around age fifteen. Mom says that I tricked her. That ten year period was a break I gave them, but I was just being nice…planning the miscreant behavior I was about to pull on good ol’ Mom and Dad. What can I say? She’s probably right. I was a horrible, wicked, up-to-no-good kind of teenager, and I will never be running for office of any kind. If my children turn out to be trouble makers, everyone can just go ahead and blame it on me. Anyhow, we all survived, didn’t we? I’m fairly responsible and conformed these days, right? (Mom, that question, if you are reading this, was not intended for your response.)
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but laugh when I checked the analytics of my blog, “My Name is Sarah,” and the search engines revealed to me that someone had found my blog this week by Googling, ‘tattoo artist named Dusty in Venice, California.’ Somewhere in the archives of My Name is Sarah, I revealed my first tattoo experience and the name of the leather-clad man who gave that tattoo to me on a trip to Venice Beach, and apparently, someone found my blog because of it. After I stopped laughing, I called Mom to inform her. Mom will be so proud, I thought.
Mom instantly recalled the story of her suspecting I had gotten a tattoo and how she discovered me. I had to share her memory. I remember it well myself…
Picture a sweet, young Sarah, age sixteen, sugar and spice and all things nice. Okay, fine… Picture the sixteen-year-old trouble maker my parents tell everyone about. We’re at the mall…(Don’t all good teenage stories involve a mall?) Mom has a bad leg. (She’s not a pirate or anything. She had a running injury when I was in middle school and dislocated and tore everything in one leg in particular.) She is so graciously taking her teenage terror shopping for clothes, but she keeps asking to come into the dressing room as her old injury is acting up.
Of course, I can’t let her into the dressing room. I have just returned from spring break in Los Angeles, where I got a lovely new tattoo, thanks to Dusty the tattoo artist!
I remember her knocking on the dressing room door. “Sarah, let me in. I need to sit down.”
“No, Mom. I’m almost done.”
“Why won’t you let me in?”
“I don’t want you to see my new tattoo, Mom!” I tease and burst out laughing.
Mom replies, “Well hurry up, then.” (And hurry up, I did.) Obviously, her sweet, darling Sarah wouldn’t return from California with a tattoo, so she doesn’t even question me.
The next day, I return from school, and my sister is standing with Mom in the kitchen. My sister doesn’t live with us at the time but has stopped by to say hi. I walk into the kitchen and suddenly feel like a trap has been set. I’m already on nerves. My sarcasm can only save me for so long. Summer vacation is coming up, and my family lives on the river…swimming and water skiing all summer. They WILL find out about the tattoo…I eye my sister warily. Has she told Mom? I had told her about the tattoo after all. Was she a traitor?
Mom looks between us slowly, and suddenly a suspicious look crosses her face. She grabs my shoulders and says, “You have a tattoo!”
It was not a question. It was a statement.
My eyes dart to the traitor. “Coleen told you!” I accuse back. (As if I am in any place to be making accusations. What can I say? I was a little punk.)
Mom looks at me threateningly. “No…but you just did.”
Sigh, inward groan, defeat…all at once, I feel it all. “You tricked me.”
I won’t share the rest of the details from that day. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the conversation between mother and sixteen-year-old teenage hellion, recently returned from Venice Beach with a detailed account about the tattoo artist who DID NOT I.D. her.
Don’t worry about me getting mine, because I am definitely getting paid back for terrorizing Mom. Mom vowed it would happen eventually. I’ve mentioned it on my blog before, but I have to again… I recall the day she waved her finger at me threateningly and spoke the curse, which instantly was cast upon me. “I hope that when you grow up, Sarah, you have a daughter…just….like…you….”
The words still send shivers down my tattooed spine.
My little ‘Sarah’s’ are both up to tricks already…Why just last week my youngest poured egg whites into my coffee, colored the bananas in the kitchen black with a marker (thank goodness it wasn’t the wall,) and hid my car keys. And she is only four. Who knows what she’ll be like when she’s fifteen. Lord, help us… And if she shares her mother’s sense of humor, I am in even more trouble…
Yes, I feel bad about what I did to my parents, but do I find any of it amusing now that I am a conformed and recovered mischief maker? Moi? Of course not…
Well, there is the other part of the Los Angeles story…It was revealed after a parental unit searched my room later on that year. I will never forget the day Mom discovered there was another Sarah, who looked JUST LIKE ME, living in Malibu, California. Accepting the defeat and the loss of my fake I.D. all at once, I let her hear it all, including the very exciting tale of buying a fake I.D. from some very nice gentlemen in south central L.A. I can still recall the look on Mom’s face…
Oh, I was a bad kid, yes. And I feel awful about it. (Mostly.) But the memory of Mom discovering my 21-year-old California twin? Now, that one still makes me laugh. I can’t help it. Sorry.
If any of you would like to send sympathy messages to my dear mother, Jacque, feel free to leave a comment below. That poor woman could use some sympathy. After all, I was one of three kids, and one of them, no names mentioned here, ha ha ha, ran neck and neck with me! 😉
(Originally posted September 2012 on My Name is Sarah’s old site.)